Published On: Tue, Mar 13th, 2018

Juncker facing DESPERATE battle to hold on to job after claims of corruption in office

Martin Selmayr, who is nicknamed “the monster”, has been appointed to the EU Commission’s Secretary-General role and will now oversee the trade bloc’s Brexit contingency planning.

The rapid rise of Mr Selmayr under Mr Juncker’s leadership has been condemned by eurosceptics and europhiles alike and has lead to an independent watchdog considering whether to launch an investigation into the EC President’s decision.

Mr Selmayr was appointed to the role without anyone else being interviewed for the job.

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit representative, described the move as a “misstep” that was “damaging for Europe as a whole”.

He also threatened the political leader may be ousted from his role over the decision.

Comparing Mr Juncker to the sacking of his predecessor Jacques Santer, who left his role over a nepotism scandal, Mr Verhofstadt said: “If the Juncker Commission is not careful, it will have the same fate.”

Yesterday MEPs held an emergency debate on the issue and called for urgent action.

Nigel Farage said: “Selmayr’s appointment is like a palace coup under cover of bureaucratic darkness.

“It smacks of nepotism, unaccountable government, abuse of public funds.”

Mr Selmayr’s promotion could see the German earning a salary of £220,000.

The new job for the Eurocrat, who is a close personal ally of Angela Merkel, comes despite being blamed for a series of high profile leaks about the Brexit process, raising questions of his suitability for the role.

The European Ombudsman, the Commission watchdog, said it had received two complaints about Mr Selmayr’s appointment and was considering whether to take action.

The incident has heaped pressure onto Mr Juncker to explain his decision to give Mr Selmayr the job.

Mr Selmayr took over from his predecessor on March 1 but criticism of his appointment has been growing since February when his appointment was first announced.

MEPs said the hiring process for his job left the EU a laughing stock that would prove more damaging than the existence of Eurosceptic parties.

A Commission spokesman said: “Everything was done strictly by the book.”

Daily Express :: News Feed